Our hope with Matthew’s House is to help bring a balance between the demanding care of a child with high needs and the care of the whole family.”- Doug and Andrea Froese
Every parent knows what it feels like to need a break. Of course, you love your children but you also need time alone or as a couple just to refresh and renew. For parents of children and youth living with complex support needs, getting that break is never simple. Everything from a trip to the grocery store to planning a holiday must include concern for wheelchair accessibility, the availability of medical equipment, or how a child’s health might be compromised. Providing around-the-clock care can be exhausting for parents of children with disabilities.
Doug and Andrea Froese lived this reality. Complications during his birth left their son Matthew with multiple challenges; he was completely dependent on others for every aspect of daily living, and Matthew was deeply loved and brought great joy to his family and friends.
“Matthew had a gentle spirit,” his parents say. “He had a way of getting into your heart and grabbing hold of it.”
Sadly, on August 14, 2010, Matthew took his last breaths while being held in loving arms. He was just 10 years old but he left behind an enormous legacy of love.
Doug and Andrea sought to honour that legacy by supporting other families like theirs. They envisioned a home away from home, where parents could bring their child, knowing that they would be well-cared for by experienced, compassionate caregivers. On November 23, 2013, that vision became a reality when Matthew’s House officially opened its doors to welcome families from across BC.
None of this would have been possible without Doug and Andrea’s tireless efforts. They rallied support from individuals, community partners and both municipal and provincial governments. Matthew’s House is a testimony to their vision and the support of a community that has made this resource possible to other families with special children like Matthew. Today, Matthew’s House continues to be a home away from home that provides quality care for youth, aged 16-24, who live with complex support needs. It is a safe, loving home for children and youth, giving parents the peace of mind that they deserve.